The Pittsburgh Pirates were poised to take the first game of the series against the Chicago Cubs before an absolute meltdown in the ninth resulted in a 9-5 loss.
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FINAL: Chicago Cubs 9, Pittsburgh Pirates 5
- The night began a little rocky for Trevor Williams. In the first inning he allowed three runs on two hits and two walks. But after that, he settled down and kept the Cubs off the board for the rest of the time he was on the mound. He retired the last 12 hitters he faced and even though he did not make it into the sixth inning, this was a good start for Williams. The Cubs are a very talented team and Williams was able to work around a rough first inning. His next scheduled start is in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
- Josh Bell blasted his 12th home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning, a laser beam to left center that went right over the 410 sign. Neil Walker clubbed 12 home runs as a switch hitting rookie, so at this rate Bell could easily end with a home run total in the twenties for sure. He tied the game in the sixth with a triple off the top of the Clemente Wall that scored Adam Frazier and David Freese.
- With the lefty Jason Heyward leading off the top of the ninth, Clint Hurdle should have let Felipe Rivero start the inning to at least face him. Instead, Juan Nicasio gave up doubles to him and Willson Contreras along with a single to Tommy La Stella. Hurdle elected to intentionally walk Kris Bryant and bring in Tony Watson, but writing was all over the wall as to what was going to happen next.
- Juan Nicasio and Watson coughed up six runs in two thirds of an inning. Nicasio did not record and out and was charged with four runs while Watson got the credit for the other two. If the team was trying to build up Watson’s confidence, this outing did not help. This was one of the more disheartening losses in recent weeks and hopefully the team can bounce back on Saturday.
Line Of the Night
As mentioned above, Williams struggled out of the gate on Friday but settled down to retire the last 12 hitters he faced. Williams threw 76 pitches and 50 for strikes, with the majority of those being tossed in the first two innings. But over five innings, he allowed just three runs (all in the first) on four hits and two walks while striking out three. It’s certainly a step in the right direction after lasting just four innings against the Marlins his last time out.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates were three outs from a win until the bullpen fell apart in the ninth, resulting in a 9-5 defeat. Who was the POTG?
— Pirates Breakdown (@pbcbreakdown) June 17, 2017
The series continues on Saturday at 8:15pm with a match up featuring of Ivan Nova (6-4, 2.83) and Jake Arrieta (6-4, 4.68). Nova dazzled the last time out, limiting the Miami Marlins to just one run over six innings to go along with no walks and four strikeouts. This was another great start by Nova, who has registered eight quality starts in his last ten outings. Arrieta earned the win in his last start against the Colorado Rockies but surrendered four runs on five hits in four and a third innings.